Obrázky stránek

Shy. What, what, what? Ill luck, ill luck? Tub. hath an argosy cast away, coming from Tripolis.

Shy. I thank God, I thank God!-Is it true? is it true?

Tub. I spoke with some of the sailors that escaped the wreck.

Shy. I thank thee, good Tubal.-Good news, good news! Ha! ha!-Where? In Genoa?

Tub. Your daughter spent in Genoa, as I heard, one night, fourscore ducats.

Shy. Thou stickest a dagger in me.--I shall never see my gold again. Fourscore ducats at a sitting! Fourscore ducats!

Tub. There came divers of Antonio's creditors in my company to Venice, that swear he cannot choose but break.

Shy. I am very glad of it; I'll plague him; I'll torture him; I am glad of it.

Tub. One of them showed me a ring, that he had of your daughter for a monkey.

Shy. Out upon her! Thou torturest me, Tubal. It was my turquoise;1 I had it of Leah, when I was a bachelor. I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.

Tub. But Antonio is certainly undone.

Shy. Nay, that's true, that's very true. Go, Tubal, fee me an officer; bespeak him a fortnight before. I will have the heart of him, if he forfeit; for were he out of Venice, I can make what merchandise I will. Go, go, Tubal, and meet me at our synagogue; go, good Tubal; at our synagogue, Tubal. [Exeunt.

1 The turquoise is a well-known precious stone found in the veins of the mountains on the confines of Persia to the east. In old times, its value was much enhanced by the magic properties attributed to it in common with other precious stones, one of which was, that it faded or brightened its hue as the health of the wearer increased or grew less.

SCENE II. Belmont. A Room in Portia's House.

Enter BASSANIO, PORTIA, GRATIANO, NERISSA, and Attendants. The Caskets are set out.

Por. I pray you tarry; pause a day or two,
Before you hazard; for, in choosing wrong,
I lose your company; therefore, forbear a while.
There's something tells me (but it is not love)
I would not lose you; and you know, yourself,
Hate counsels not in such a quality;

But lest you should not understand me well,
(And yet a maiden hath no tongue but thought,)
I would detain you here some month or two,
Before you venture for me.
I could teach you
How to choose right, but then I am forsworn;
So will I never be; so may you miss me;
But if you do, you'll make me wish a sin,
That I had been forsworn. Beshrew your eyes,
They have o'erlooked1 me, and divided me ;
One half of me is yours, the other half yours,-
Mine own, I would say; but if mine, then yours,
And so all yours; O! these naughty times
Put bars between the owners and their rights,
And so, though yours, not yours.—Prove it so,
Let fortune go to hell for it,-not I.


I speak too long; but 'tis to peize 2 the time;
To eke it, and to draw it out in length,
To stay you from election.


Let me choose, For as I am, I live upon the rack.

Por. Upon the rack, Bassanio? Then confess What treason there is mingled with your love.

Bass. None, but that ugly treason of mistrust, Which makes me fear the enjoying of my love.

1 To be o'erlooked, forelooked, or eye-bitten, was a term for being bewitched by an evil eye.

2 To pieze is from peser (Fr.), to weigh or balance.

There may as well be amity and life
"Tween snow and fire, as treason and my love.
Por. Ay, but, I fear, you speak upon the rack,
Where men enforced do speak any thing.

Bass. Promise me life, and I'll confess the truth.
Por. Well, then, confess, and live.

Confess, and love,
Had been the very sum of my confession.
O happy torment, when my torturer
Doth teach me answers for deliverance!
But let me to my fortune and the caskets.
Por. Away then; I'm locked in one of them;
If you do love me, you will find me out.-
Nerissa, and the rest, stand all aloof.-

Let music sound, while he doth make his choice;
Then, if he lose, he makes a swan-like end,
Fading in music. That the comparison

May stand more proper, my eye shall be the stream,
And watery death-bed for him. He

may win;
And what is music then! Then music is
Even as the flourish when true subjects bow
To a new-crowned monarch; such it is,
As are those dulcet sounds in break of day,
That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
And summon him to marriage. Now he goes,
With no less presence,1 but with much more love,
Than young Alcides, when he did redeem
The virgin-tribute paid by howling Troy
To the sea-monster. I stand for sacrifice.
The rest aloof are the Dardanian wives,
With bleared visages, come forth to view
The issue of the exploit. Go, Hercules!
Live thou, I live.-With much, much more dismay
I view the fight, than thou that mak'st the fray.

Music, whilst BASSANIO comments on the Caskets to himself.

1 i. e dignity of mien.


1. Tell me, where is fancy1 bred,
Or in the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
Reply, reply.

2. It is engendered in the eyes,
With gazing fed; and fancy dies
In the cradle where it lies.

Let us all ring fancy's knell;
Ding, dong, bell.

I'll begin it,

All. Ding, dong, bell.

Bass. So may the outward shows be least them

selves :


The world is still deceived with ornament.2
In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt,
But, being seasoned with a gracious voice,
Obscures the show of evil? In religion,
What damned error, but some sober brow
Will bless it, and approve it3 with a text,
Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
There is no vice so simple, but assumes
Some mark of virtue on his outward
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As stairs of sand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules, and frowning Mars;
Who, inward searched, have livers white as milk!
And these assume but valor's excrement, 4
To render them redoubted. Look on beauty,
And you shall see 'tis purchased by the weight;
Which therein works a miracle in nature,
Making them lightest that wear most of it.
So are those crisped, snaky, golden locks,

1 Love.

2 Bassanio begins abruptly, the first part of the argument having passed

in his mind.

3 i. e. justify it.

4 That is, what a little higher is called the beard of Hercules.

Which make such wanton gambols with the wind,
Upon supposed fairness, often known

To be the dowry of a second head,

The skull that bred them, in the sepulchre.1
Thus ornament is but the guiled2 shore

To a most dangerous sea; the beauteous scarf
Veiling an Indian beauty; in a word,

The seeming truth which cunning times put on
To entrap the wisest. Therefore, thou gaudy gold,
Hard food for Midas, I will none of thee;

Nor none of thee, thou pale and common drudge
"Tween man and man; but thou, thou meagre lead,
Which rather threat'nest, than dost promise aught,
Thy paleness moves me more than eloquence,
And here choose I. Joy be the consequence!


Por. How all the other passions fleet to air,
As doubtful thoughts, and rash-embraced despair,
And shuddering fear, and green-eyed jealousy.
O love, be moderate, allay thy ecstasy,
In measure rain thy joy, scant this excess;
I feel too much thy blessing; make it less,
For fear I surfeit!


What find I here?

[Opening the leaden casket.

Fair Portia's counterfeit? What demi-god
Hath come so near creation? Move these eyes?
Or whether, riding on the balls of mine,

Seem they in motion? Here are severed lips,
Parted with sugar breath; so sweet a bar

Should sunder such sweet friends. Here in her hairs
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven

A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men,
Faster than gnats in cobwebs. But her eyes,-
How could he see to do them? Having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his,

1 Shakspeare has also satirized this fashion of false hair in Love's Labor's Lost.

2 Guiled for guiling, or treacherous.

3 In order to avoid the repetition of the epithet pale, Warburton altered this to plainness, and he has been followed in the modern editions; but the reading of the old copy, which is here restored, is the true one.

« PředchozíPokračovat »